2015 Cincinnati All-Star auction features fascinating baseball correspondence

Letters from umpire turned folk artist George Sosnak. (Courtesy Hunt Auctions)
Letters from umpire turned folk artist George Sosnak. (Courtesy Hunt Auctions and Invaluable.com)

The 2015 All-Star Game proves it. The “official” auction proclaims baseball letters as true collectibles.

Once, something like a cancelled check was seen only as a substitute way of getting a real signature.

Now, the world sees letters as proof that baseball personalities are people, too. Two people connecting over a team, a moment…a chapter of baseball history.

The first two lots come from the family of Herb Carneal. A Ford Frick-winning broadcaster, Carneal announced Minnesota Twins games from 1962-2006. 

Johnny Pesky’s military service, and his value to the Red Sox, are documented in a batch of signed correspondence.

The most fascinating lot surrounds minor league umpire and folk artist George Sosnak. Sosnak’s painted baseball’s are legendary. Here, collectors can see him big-name support for his art. A wonderful Facebook group of collectors of Sosnak art offers a great introduction to his creations.

Online pre-bidding ends tonight (Monday, July 13) at 10 p.m. EST. Check the site for prices realized.

And, realize that those baseball letters you’re getting will have lasting value, too!


Can’t get your minor league cards autographed? It may not be why you think, reveals former catcher Jim Campanis

I found this at www.tradingcarddb.com. Before you assume no cards exist of someone, stop here!
I found this at the amazing  www.tradingcarddb.com. Before you assume no cards exist of someone, stop here!

Ask. Always ask.

Legends have lingered for years about which major leaguers may not autograph certain cards. They don’t like being linked to that organization, or remain peeved they got traded.

I’ve never heard of a collector failing to get a minor league card autographed by a retiree. However, I assumed any possible rejection might be because of the disappointment of not making it to the majors that year.

Or not.

When someone posted a retrospective of cards of Jim Campanis on Facebook, the former Team USA member (with five major manufacturer appearances) commented that minor league sets did not necessarily pay appearance fees.

Oops. Shades of 1976 SSPC! 

How does he feel about a card that may have brought him NOTHING during his playing career, especially when someone asks to get it signed? He replied:

“It’s not the card collector’s fault the card companies are run by opportunistic a-holes who have found a loophole in the MLB player contracts. Collecting cards is often a shared love between fathers and sons. How could I be a jerk and say no to that even though many of my signed cards end up for sale online?

It feels like its my responsibility to keep signing them.”

We need guys like “Campy” on all-star teams. I’d vote for him. Thank you, Jim!

Kal Segrist: former Yankee, overlooked signer, gone at 84

In 2010, The Great Orioles Autograph Project blogger Ryan commented about Segrist's shaky signature.
In 2010, The Great Orioles Autograph Project blogger Ryan commented about Segrist’s shaky signature.

Don’t let the card companies tell you the players to write to.

Kal Segrist was another star signer in that quickly-shrinking roster of 1950s players. The only widely available card of Segrist came in 1991, the Baltimore Orioles Crown Oil retrospective set.

A former 1950s Yankee? I expected hundreds of contacts reported on www.sportscollectors.net. Nope. Just 39 attempts, with 33 successes. I blame the lack of a Topps card for why more never bothered writing him.

One of my favorite baseball writers, Nick Diunte, did an all-star job crafting a remembrance of Segrist. 

The missing chapter of Darryl Hamilton?

(Courtesy of Rich Hanson)
(Courtesy of Rich Hanson)

Most fans know how Darryl Hamilton died.

Whether he signed an autograph for you or not, add a memory to your collection.

Remember how he lived with this moving obituary. I spotted this jewel from a fellow member of the Facebook Group Baseball Player Passings.

Lastly, don’t wait to send those letters. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us.